Notes from a Fellow: This is the inaugural post from Jostin Grimes, a summer fellow with ICS through the Southern Education Leadership Initiative. Throughout the summer, Jostin will share reflections on his experience at ICS, thoughts on the field, and updates on projects. You can follow the posts here.
Hello All! My name is Jostin Grimes and I have the privilege to work with Institute for Child Success this summer as a Southern Education Leadership Initiative (SELI) Fellow. For the next few weeks, I will be taking over the ICS blog to share my experiences, new knowledge, and insights into my introduction to the world of policy. The SELI fellowship is awarded to those individuals who have exhibited a strong interest in the field of education reform, and are passionate about changing the cultural, social, and structural inequalities that affect minorities in the American education system. My passion for early childhood education and its many facets brought me to i(cs), and I am thrilled to join the team to create solutions to numerous educational issues that are apparent in school systems in the south and nationwide.
The SELI program is supported by the Southern Education Foundation (SEF), a non-profit education
organization in Atlanta, GA that seeks to improve education for disadvantaged students in the south. Through the Southern Education Leadership Initiative (SELI) I will work closely with the Policy Research team to craft and present research on current issues that limits or accelerates early childhood education and child success overall. Entering into the policy realm is frightening but I am confident that Keller Anne, Megan, and Joe will serve as excellent resources and advocates for the amazing work that will occur this summer! Working with students of color in the Atlanta Public System, I have witnessed first hand the implications that bad policies have impeded on the growth of these students in school and in their communities. Furthermore, the communities that these students come from are consumed with poverty and insufficient resources to support the academic and personal growth that is expected out of the students. As a sociology major, I have the keen ability to look at social phenomenons from a macro (institutional) and micro (individual) level of analysis, and this innate gift will help me conceptualize the “bigger picture” of those structural and societal inequalities that play an integral role in the deterrence of our youth in schools. Some of the work that I will produce this summer will involve creating primers through data collection on economics, test scores, and analyzing current literature to address misconceptions of education equity for minorities. This summer I am excited to identify, debate, and create ideas and solutions by exploring current policies and stereotypes that are associated with young children in the South, and the environments and systems in which they are raised.
A little about me: I am originally from Gordon, GA, which is a small rural city located in the central Georgia area. This fall I will be a senior at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA where I am a sociology major and education studies minor. My passion for education has grown tremendously over the past three years through the opportunities and multi-faceted networks that I have encountered. I have been active on campus as a member of various student led organizations such as the world-renowned Morehouse College Glee Club, Students for Education Reform (Spelman College Chapter), and the UPS Community Service Scholars Program. This fall I will serve as the Lead Scholar for the UPS program and President of the Morehouse College Glee Club. Furthermore, my commitment to service, scholarship, and advocacy is evident through my commitment in educating and uplifting the youth of tomorrow. As I previously mentioned, I serve as a student volunteer with the UPS Community Service Scholars Program; which is a partnership between UPS and The Atlanta University Center—where students volunteer at Fickett Elementary, located in southwest Atlanta for an entire academic year. During my time at Fickett, I have worked closely with third grade students in strengthening their reading and writing skills. This has been rewarding, humbling and transforming as I have seen the scholars grow academically, emotionally, and personally in a matter of nine months. While serving at Fickett I found my voice in the pursuit to deconstruct and address the inequalities that affect students of color in urban areas.
I am excited to update you all on possible solutions that I may discover through a deep analysis of old and new policies, and I hope that my findings can spark conversations in relation to early childhood success!
“The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated. ” – James Baldwin